These Are the Best Places in SF to See the Fireworks

Start hiking now.

By Diane Rommel

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01 July 2016

Two-hundred and forty years ago this Monday, our Founding Fathers gathered together, joined hands in unison and declared the original #Brexit.

Then somewhere down the line, someone equally astute figured out that ambitious pyrotechnic displays are a great way to commemorate that occasion. And you will see one of said displays three days from now.

The only question: whence should a discerning gent watch?

Our answers(s)? Right here, in this handy compendium of the seven best spots to catch the show come sundown.

By Kayak
By far our preferred viewing platform: a kayak skimming a couple inches above the water. City Kayak offers a solid tour to Pier 39. No newbies; there’s too much paddling after dark (and after the show, during the post-fireworks comedown.) Unless you’re solid in the saddle, you’ll get a double sea-touring kayak, FYI.

From the Deck of the Hornblower
Pay the men their money ($154 per person, which includes dinner and a DJ we’re sure flew in straight from Ibiza). Stop worrying about fighting for a place to stand. Many problems solved at once, plus bay breezes.

Angel Island
Being in the middle of the bay has its perks — fewer crowds, for one. (It also has its problems, like a $120 ticket.) Tiburon departures only. That pricey pass includes the tram to the premier viewing spot at Battery Ledyard.

Pier 39
It’s our equivalent of Times Square on New Year’s Eve: Everyone should do Pier 39 on the 4th once, to complain/brag that they did it forever.

SFAI
Russian Hill
Our premier art school has a bird’s eye view of the Bay on regular days, and an elevated perch for the show on the 4th. Just get as high as you can.

Berkeley Marina
Skip the traffic and settle in for a full day of activities at the Berkeley Marina. Kids will want to make an early day of it for the “adventure playground” — just be sure they can last until 9:35 launch time for the municipal show.

Bernal Heights Hill
Less punishing crowds, more locals — possibly the experience that is most opposite of being at Pier 39 while still being excellent. Bring a flashlight — it’s tough getting down.

Photos: Berkeley Marina via Flickr. Bernal Heights via Flickr

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